Whether or not you’re a fan of the MTG universe, Magic: ManaStrike is one of the most satisfying battlers you can play right now. Seriously, we couldn’t find anything wrong with it, except for the fact that we think the devs ought to put in a bit of fanservice and give us an extensive single-player campaign where we can earn a lot of premium currency.
Is that too much to ask? A fair amount of premium currency, then? How about just enough for us to get that battle-pass once in a while? If previous Netmarble games are any indication, we’ll have some gems coming our way, so we wouldn’t really worry about it. Although we’ve been on ManaStrike for no more than several days, climbing the ladder is extremely satisfying.
To find out how you can be successful in ranked matches, just read on.
It’s Always the Basics
Whenever you’re considering going competitive, you should take Mr. Miyagi’s advice to heart – if you want to be consistently successful you have to master the basics. To grasp the fundamentals of the game, you should first take a look at our beginner’s guide. It’s an easy read that will spare you a lot of headache and wasted time, we promise. These tips got us to Rank 4 in less than two days, so we must be doing something right.
Secondly, we highly advise you to play Magic: ManaStrike on BlueStacks. The enhanced control, versatility, ability accuracy, and multitasking power of this emulator will greatly speed up your levelling process. Sure, the game might have been intended for mobile devices, but it’s so much more gratifying to see your Planeswalker steamroll an opponent on a generous PC screen, in high definition.
Choosing the Right Planeswalker
Even though there are quite a number of protagonists to make your pick from at any given time, you should try to pick one and stick with them as much as possible. This will not only increase your mastery with any given permanent, but also ensure that you better understand who they are and what they do best. We chose Ajali because, for us, there’s no better feeling in the world than pummelling a host of units and structures. Domri Rade also delivers on this front, perhaps better than the tiger.
From a meta perspective, Jace and Chandra seem to be holding their ground quite well in the beginning of the game. Later on, as you progress through the ranks, you’ll have even more Planeswalkers to choose from. Most of the new ones will be able to use two color cards, which gives you more options in terms of battle card choices. Since the game is quite balanced, we recommend you go with the hero that you like best.
The key to winning is a combination of carefully planned battle tactics and synergy between your cards. For instance, Jace’s Wavecrash Triton is an OP unit that does a lot of pushback, an immense amount of AoE damage, and has tons of HP to boot. If you’re playing against him, you’ll want to do your best to prevent your units from being trapped and killed in the middle choke-points. Knowing the strength of each and every one of your cards, as well as that of your Planeswalker, is at least 50% of a good win.
The other 50% of winning in ManaStrike essentially boils down to making the right choices during a match. Even if you only have three minutes at your disposal, you shouldn’t forget that the most difficult encounters are solved in overtime, when mana gain is doubled and the game proceeds to be… well, on steroids. Our most entertaining and balanced battles were always settled in the latter part.
For example, we know that our Ajani is an amazing frontline warrior. His problem is that he’s quite squishy, if left alone. So, what we need to do is think of a way to enable him and extend the duration of his presence on the battlefield. The Howling Golem works quite well with this hero, since he’s the tankiest unit we have at our disposal. The problem with the latter is that he can only attack buildings, so you need to have additional frontline support that takes care of the units that jump on him.
Even worse, our Golem can be “taunted away” if the opponent places down any structure that’s closer to him than the guardian or the tower. This will essentially kite our unit away from their objective and expose them to enemy attacks. Even though he’s just a common card, the Haunted Guardian is a much-needed addition to our line-up. In tandem with the Knight of New Benalia, he can do some serious damage while keeping your enemies at bay.
A good rule of thumb is to play as slow as possible to begin with, almost reactively to what your opponent is doing, in order to catch them off-guard later on. Don’t be too generous with your hero summons, as they are limited. You’ll get some more in over-time, but again, not enough for you to just keep spamming, which, as we see it, is the beauty of this entire game.
Finally, we opted for the Spectral Procession in favour of the Ratchet Bomb. Aside from doing a bit more damage than the latter, the spirits will draw enemy fire. This is crucial for us, as it will give our squadron of Ajani + Knight + Guardian, followed by the Angel in the back, enough time to reach vital structures and do their job.
Become a Champion of ManaStrike Ranked Matches
This is the sort of strategic approach that Magic: ManaStrike demands from its players. Naturally, you don’t always have to think through every decision you make, but don’t expect to be successful as a result of that. We personally take great pleasure in devising our battle plans and seeing them enacted in the best way possible. Then again, we’re also quite competitive. It may seem daunting to begin with, but after a few games, you’ll get the hang of it quite easily.
Beyond Rank 4, you’ll have to seriously consider your opponents’ strategies and think of ways to overthrow them. This shouldn’t be too hard, particularly since you have access to all Plainswalkers’ details. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself when you lose. Every leaderboard champion has had their fair share of failure before they rose to the top. However, with our advice and BlueStacks on your side, we guarantee you’ll climb the leaderboard in no time.